Tonight, Chris Matthews opened up his MSNBC program Hardball with an apology for his comment that Obama went into the enemy camp when he spoke at West Point last night. Matthews said, “I used the wrong words and worse than that, I said something that was just not right, for that I deeply apologize.”
Here is the video:
Matthews said, “I’ve gotten some very tough calls from parents of cadets and from former cadets at West Point about my saying last night that the president had gone to speak up there to maybe the enemy camp. I was talking about the skepticism I saw in the faces in the crowd as President Obama spoke. Also, of course, about how West Point was where President Bush went in 2002 to make his most hawkish speech before the Iraq war.”
He then apologized, “Now I have heard too many politicians say things like, oh that was taken out of context to explain something they wish they hadn’t said. Let me just say to the cadets, their parents, former cadets, and everyone who care about this country and those who defend it, I used the wrong words, and worse than that I said something that was just not right, and for that I deeply apologize.”
He continued, “As those who watch me regularly probably got right away, my point was that the military up at West Point was probably a skeptical audience for President Obama given his strong position against the war in Iraq, and generally more dovish image. I was wrong to make that conclusion based on the lack of applause or apparent enthusiasm in the ranks of officers and cadets last night. Cadets, one former cadet and a friend of mine just told me, aren’t supposed to show that kind of reaction to a speaker. He, a former cadet, reminded me that soldiers, including those now in training to face the enemy, want wars to be fought effectively and ended as quickly as possible. I had no reason to assume the cadets at West Point or the officers are more hawkish than the president.”
He went defend his patriotism and love of the military. All in all, it was a comprehensive apology, and not the kind of thing a viewer ever sees on Fox News. Chris Matthews admitted that he screwed up, told his audience why his assumptions were wrong, and deeply apologized for his statement.
It was a good honest apology where he didn’t try to varnish anything. Matthews deserves respect for owning up to his mistake. This is something that too few in the media do today.